Simon Andrews will be back in action at Spa. Photo:

Disabled race hero Simon Andrews will return to the track this week after a five-month wait to get back behind the wheel of his APR Volkswagen Racing Cup Golf GTI.

The 35-year-old from Hampshire was a reluctant spectator during the first half of the season as he recuperated from a major operation in February, but is now well enough to contest the championship’s ninth and 10th rounds on Saturday (13 July) at the Belgian Grand Prix circuit of Spa-Francorchamps.

“It’s been a frustrating time,” said Andrews, “but I had to recover from the operation and having Spa as a target for my return has helped keep me going. I haven’t raced since Donington Park last October but have done some testing and we reckon we have identified and cured a weak point in the Golf.

“The problem is that the pace of the VW Cup has moved on, but then again it is my team-mates Aaron Mason and Joe Fulbrook who are moving the pace on, so I am in a better position than most.”

Paraplegic Simon’s AWM/Warranty Direct Racing Golf is equipped with a DSG semi-automatic gearbox, enabling lightning starts from the grid. Last year at Spa, Simon held seventh place in one of the races before running out of fuel on the final lap and losing two spots. Andrews will be one of two disabled drivers on the APR Volkswagen Racing Cup grid in Belgium, the other being KPM Golf driver Philip Morris.

The championship reaches Spa with three drivers separated at the top of the table by just 24 points, but unfortunately one of the trio will not be in action in Belgium: Ross Wylie, one of last month’s Snetterton race victors, will instead be on duty in the Scirocco R Cup at the Norisring in Germany.

Scirocco racer Aaron Mason leads the title challengers and has four wins under his belt already from eight races; third-placed Joe Fulbrook is still in contention but hasn’t made the podium since his Rockingham victory in May at the wheel of his new Golf GTI.

The 2004 and ’05 Volkswagen Racing Cup Champion Philip House claimed his maiden victory of 2013 last time out, and the Scirocco driver, who has yet to play his points-doubling Joker card, will be looking to break into the championship top three this weekend.

KPM’s Scirocco duo Martin Depper and Stewart Lines will be bidding to secure their first wins, as will the championship’s other top-10 men, Golf GTI racers David Sutton (Team HARD), Henry Gilbert (Henry Gilbert Racing) and Josh Caygill (AWM/Warranty Direct).

A field of 25 cars is expected in the Ardennes, with diversity provided by the SEAT Leon Cupra of Peter Wyhinny, the Beetle RSI of Tony Harberman and the classic Golf/Corrado combination of brothers Didge and Alex Dziurzynski.

JWB Motorsport will be out in strength with Golfs for Paul Dehadray and Mark Clynes and Sciroccos for Chris Levett and Kieran Griffin. SlideSports will be fielding cars for David Fairbrother and Craig Milner; AWM/Warranty Direct will have Simon Tomlinson and Robin Riley on strength; and Team HARD will also be preparing Golfs for Graham Perkins, Tom Barley and 16-year-old newcomer Sam Morgan.


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